Signs of spring continue to show themselves. My neighbor Trudy and I spent some time porch sitting last night while the oodles of children ran between our yards playing hide and seek in the dark. Mike’s children, Trudy’s children, those who were invited and those who just wandered in. I believe that I counted 10 of them at some point, ranging in the 7 to 12 year old age group. Runners and hiders and screamers. They were raucous enough to rouse another neighbor’s dog and generate a brief conversation with her. We’ve had the same conversation many times. I apologize for the noisy children, she warns that if her dog gets out there may be a problem. Then she asks “How many of them ARE there?”
Trudy had gone grocery shopping. When she pulled into her driveway across the street from me, I called out to the gaggle of boys shooting hoops in my driveway “Do we have any gentlemen here?” They replied in chorus “Yes.” I reminded them that real gentlemen would be across the street carrying in groceries for Trudy. She was then mobbed. While they took her purchases into her house, she came over and joined me on the porch.
The weather was perfect. The promised storms completely bypassed us, allowing the children to play outside well into the evening. I have a sense of “time warp” when this happens.
As we sat on the porch, I flashed through the almost 20 years I’ve spent sitting on this same porch watching all of the children play. Many of them have grown to adulthood and have children of their own now. I hear from them periodically. I keep in touch with them on Facebook and Myspace. I watch as they bring children of their own in the world and move forward with their lives. Once in a while they’ll show up, dragging their own children and reminiscing about the carefree days of their childhood playing in my yard.
Spring is a time of new beginnings and a time of renewal for me. Just as the crocuses and my allergies return every year, so do the neighborhood children. As usual, this year, there are some new ones that I have yet to learn the names of. And the chorus hasn’t changed either. When they are doing something they maybe shouldn’t be doing and I move towards them to investigate, “HIDE, Holly’s coming!”
It’s one of the patterns in the tapestry of my life. And I like that there’s a small voice that sounds like mine buried in their psyches that is saying “You know, guys…. that might not be a good idea.” or “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
At the end of the day, everyone enjoyed themselves. The children crawled into bed worn out from the running around and subsequent playing of Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero at Trudy’s house. My world again became quiet. As I closed my book on the day, I smiled. Goal accomplished. We had fun!